As a semi-follow-up to @pushcx’s post about Apple attention to detail.
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I got the feeling that the author of the article used “touchpads and battery life” in lieu of “good UX”. The UX of a windows laptop has pretty much always been shit - and the wonky touchpads and crap battery life are big parts of that. Other significant contributors are the bloatware (that AFAIK has gotten better in recent years, I just throw linux on there without booting up so I can’t say much), poor build quality (like laptops that literally flex), and windows itself.
Windows has gotten loads better (10 is nice, really), but that is only one piece of the puzzle and I doubt that Dell and friends are going to realize how far they need to raise the bar before it is too late.
I spent pretty big bucks getting a Dell XPS 13 (2015 model) and it is well engineered - I really love the touchpad, and the touch screen, and even though I opted for the higher definition screen, the battery life is pretty decent. I love the hardware. But the drivers are just buggy as hell, and the firmware for most everything and the UEFI both really need work. I’m hoping continued patches fix the issues, but I’m not all that hopeful. I just don’t get why we can’t have both good hardware and good software.
Are you running Windows or Linux on the XPS 13 (was thinking of getting one to run Linux).
Apple has it easier w.r.t. drivers and firmware, because they own the whole stack.
AFAICS as long as the PC has a thriving bottom end, then upmarket Windows laptops will always have to be built on a fraction of the engineering budget of a MacBook. (Because Apple is able to extract economic surplus with its pricing power, by way of its well earned MacBook monopoly.) The Windows laptop competes as a commodity good, it necessarily is designed on a tighter budget. Incidentally, if you want a nice Windows laptop, why not just buy a MacBook? Problem solved job done.
In short: customers want touchpads that work, PCs keep giving them touchscreens instead. There is some combination of “slow and steady wins the race” and “fool me once, fool me twice” going on here. Some number of customers will want the new hotness, but eventually a fair number of them won’t want to play the game anymore.